Leland of ThemeLab.com has a great interview with Jason Schuller of ThemeGarden.com which talks about his upcoming theme marketplace. Of course, the licensing question cropped up again but I was happy to see Jason’s response as the following:
Leland: Part of the seller requirements state that themes must be licensed under the GPL. Will child themes (or skins) of notable non-GPL theme frameworks like Thesis and Headway be allowed to be sold on the ThemeGarden marketplace?
JS: This is a hard call for me, and I am on the fence with this requirement because my own themes on Press75.com are split-GPL licensed. That is my choice, and Press75.com will never be supported by WordPress.org because of that decision.
However, in order to provide the most exposure for a community of sellers, I believe that ThemeGarden.com needs to be 100% GPL. This will ensure that ThemeGarden.com and the community surrounding it is in line with and supported by WordPress. I would love to hear some feedback on this by potential sellers as well.
But to answer the question, as long as the child theme is GPL licensed, I don’t see any reason why they wouldn’t be allowed on ThemeGarden.com even if the parent framework isn’t 100% GPL licensed.
With a marketplace already in action for StudioPress, Mojo Themes, Themeforest and now ThemeGarden.com, it’s beginning to look like the people are creating smaller commercial theme repositories versus hoping that one day, WordPress.org will allow commercial themes to be hosted their. The beauty of these marketplace ideas is not only a larger selection to choose from, but the people running them are awesome WordPress community members that have earned the trust of many due to their great reputation. Another side benefit towards these marketplaces beginning to spring up is how much easier it will be for up and coming theme developers to get their work to the masses. Instead of doing it all on their own, commercial theme authors can utilize the resources that Jason or Brian provides leaving more time for quality support. It’s also nice to see more choices instead of less which will generate healthy competition. It will be interesting a year from now to see how each marketplace has developed in terms of quality, support, and number of themes.
Good luck Jason. We’ll be keeping an eye on you!